The United Nations General Assembly has rejected a proposal by the body’s Secretary General Antonio Guterres to have their Regional Service Centre at Entebbe relocated to another country.
Guterres had in a May 1 report to the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) recommended for relocation of key functions at the Regional Service Centre Entebbe to Nairobi, Kenya.
“The location assessment proposal is contingent on host country consultations…this combination of locations (Budapest, Mexico City, and Nairobi) would provide time zone and regional coverage, ensuring a strong business continuity…”Guterres said in his report but on Friday, the member states rejected the proposal.
The ACABQ in their report said the proposal for a relocation reflects higher costs with lower savings and according to the Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kutesa, the decision by the UN General Assembly was as a result of collective and combined effort by individuals and groups in Uganda and beyond.
“I appreciate and commend the efforts by His Excellency the President, Cabinet, Parliament, Media, Civil Society and the general public for the role played,”Kutesa said in a statement on Saturday.
Recently, President Museveni penned a letter to Guterres protesting against the move to relocate the regional service centre to another country saying it would be unfair for Uganda.
However, according to Kutesa the resolutions by the UN General Assembly are greatly welcome and are a sign of confidence that the international body has in Uganda.
“The resolutions acknowledge the support of the Government of Uganda for facilitating the work of the UN Regional Service Center in Entebbe.”
He added, “government’s commitment to support Entebbe Regional Service Centre remains solid.”
The assembly also approved a budget of over US$30,000,000 for the centre at Entebbe before deciding that Ugandan nationals at the centre are eligible for continuing contracts.
“This offers job security to Ugandan nationals working at the center,”Kutesa noted.
The UN Regional Service Centre at Entebbe employs over 400 Ugandans.
The Foreign Affairs minister said the UN General Assembly requested the Guterres to submit a new proposal for the Global Service Delivery Model deferring his earlier proposal which had eliminated Entebbe as a location for shared service centre and the new proposal is expected during the main part of the 73rd session later this year.
The latest development seems to be a result of a spirited fight put up by the Ugandan government in regards to the relocation of the UN Service Centre in Entebbe which included among others a protest by President Museveni and condemnation of the move by Members of Parliament and the public among others.